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D.C. United vs. New England Revolution MLS live stream: Time, TV schedule, and how to watch online

Our preview of the biggest game in MLS this weekend.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference meet tonight, as D.C. United travels north to take on the New England Revolution. Never mind Jason Kreis's return to Utah, or the other Atlantic coast battle between the Red Bulls and Union; this is the premier matchup in MLS this weekend.

It's also an interesting clash of styles: The Revs want to play a vertical, high-paced game that emphasizes their attacking weapons more than it does a defense that's more "good enough" than actually good. United is quite different; the emphasis in the District is on staying compact, not giving up many chances, and relying on quality shots rather than quantity. Both teams are good at dictating the terms, and that will be critical if either team emerges victorious tonight.

Key player: Bobby Boswell

There are two things you need to know about the Revolution attack: First, they attempt a lot of crosses. Second, they're at their most dangerous when Charlie Davies is slicing in between the center backs. Both of these strengths are going to test Boswell, who should be up to the job. In the air, Boswell should not be losing any contested headers against Davies or Juan Agudelo; he's taller than Davies, and physically stronger than Agudelo. If the Revs are forced to play a bunch of crosses, Boswell should be seen heading a lot of them clear (along with Kofi Opare...unless today's the day Steve Birnbaum returns?).

It's the second item that will be more tricky. Boswell's communication and anticipation are going to need to be top-notch tonight, because Davies is very clever and has a decided speed advantage. If Boswell isn't a step ahead mentally - probably two steps, since he's also United's chief organizer at the back - he's not going to be able to do much to contain Davies. Given how it seems likely that United will be doing plenty of defending against the high-powered New England attack, it seems clear that the captain is going to have to deliver a strong outing if United will be leaving Massachusetts with three points.

Key question: Can United show us what they're really made of?

This is unquestionably a big game. First place in the East is on the line, and with the right results elsewhere either of these teams could end up atop the Supporters Shield race by the end of the weekend. There's also the whole "getting back on track" theme, as both sides are coming off of one of their worst performances in 2015. A clear winner today gets to treat their last game as a blip; the other has to look at the possibility that they're no longer in form.

We've seen the Black-and-Red show a tendency towards playing to the level of their opponent. Against Vancouver, Columbus and NYRB (at least for an hour at RFK) we've seen strong outings. KC, Houston, LA, and Orlando - well, the second time - all involved mixed performances, and those teams are all mid-table right now. Against Philly, United played poorly against a poor team.

The Revs are probably the best team United has played this season, and going into their house is going to require a performance to match if we're to expect what would be a statement win. United can't just rely on Bill Hamid and the back four to win this game; the Revs are too sharp in front of goal. Personally, I'd like to see DCU deliver a strong showing tonight that becomes the benchmark for the coming months.

Match date/time: Sunday 5/23, 7:30pm EST

Venue: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)

TV: CSN Washington (English), MLS Direct Kick (English, blacked out in DC region)

Online: MLS Live (English, blacked out in DC region)

Listings via LiveSoccerTV.

Check back in two hours for our gamethread. In the meantime, what's your key question for this game?